Budget director acknowledges some school districts will suffer huge financial hardships in budget

02/13/2018 01:56 PM

FRANKFORT – State Budget Director John Chilton answered a flurry of questions on Tuesday from members of the Senate Standing Committee on Appropriations and Revenue as that committee continues to work on crafting a biennium budget.

One area of discussion turned to how this years proposal will affect many of the states school districts.

Sen. Max Wise, R-Campbellsville, expressed concern over increased transportation and pension funding costs within the proposed budget, some districts, including four in his district, will suffer dire financial consequences as a result of the increased costs.

A fact which was acknowledged by Chilton.

“There will be additional financial burdens imposed on the school districts,” Chilton said. “The Department of Education will need to address that question in specific, but we know right now, under the current budget, there are many school districts that are in financial straits.”

Sen. Wil Schroder was frustrated with the fact that the additional funding in the 2016 – 2018 biennium budget to bring Northern Kentucky University and Western Kentucky University on par with the funding of the state other universities was not included in the current proposed budget.

Chilton told committee members after being asked if state revenue projections needed to be adjusted lower, that revenue receipts for December and January were higher than expected, so he sees no reason to change those projections from what was originally thought.

“We believe that the revenue projection is still valid because most of the increase in tax receipts is associated with individual estimated tax payments that we associate with the change in federal tax law, which for 2018, limits the deductibility of state income tax payments on the federal return,” Chilton said.

Sen. Danny Carroll, R-Paducah, questioned Chilton about the process used to decide what 70 programs and agencies would receive no state funding in the next biennium budget.

“Many if not all of the programs that we’ve identified in the list of 70 programs to be eliminated are good programs, important programs, but this whole process was a matter of setting priorities and supporting the things that are high priority activities,” Chilton said. “This included discussions with the governor, discussions with the agencies, discussions among our group, and that’s how we came up with the list of 70 to eliminate.”

Committee chair Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, promised many more discussions on the subject but reiterated that the budget must be balanced, so that anything put back in, means something else must be taken out.


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